Friday, August 30, 2013

Sew Weekly Reunion

Hello Lovelies!
I had so much fun making the voice meme that's going around that I thought I give it another try with my Sew Weekly Reunion challenge. It also seemed a good way to condense a lot of info into one blog post. So please bear with all my "umm'ss" and other weird quirks and enjoy!

The Facts

Fabric: Probably Polyester
Notions: Buttons and Elastic
Pantone Challenge colors: Vivacious & 
Pattern: Advance 4640 and Lutterloh kimono top
Year: Early 1950s and 70s
Time to complete: 6hrs?
First worn: For video
Wear again? No, after making the videos I wore it around the house and the fit on it is terrible. It is too short and it keeps riding up and making a poof on my upper chest. I think I was in too much of a hurry and needed to add some gathers or pleats in the neckline to make it fit better. I am going to slice it up for part of my infinity scarves.
Total Cost: Free, fabric and notions all came from stash and will return to it.
All the details, the pretty and the not so pretty.

The Facts

Fabric: Brussels Washer Linen from and cotton scraps for pockets and waistband lining
Notions: Interfacing, buttons, zipper (all from stash, yea!!)
Pantone Challenge colors: Carafe
Pattern: Simplicity 2562 
Year: 2009
Time to complete: 7hrs?
First worn: For photos
Wear again? OH YEAH!! These are super comfy and I had a hard time taking them off after the photo shoot so I could keep them clean for the trip!
Total Cost: $18
All the lovely details!

Front, Back and falling over! Who knew photo shoots could be so dangerous?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August Stashbusting Update

Well in the midst of all the bridesmaid dress crazies I was able to spend a lovely day with friends for our monthly sewing day. Not-Niece number one, The Pink Princess, had just completed her first week of kindergarden and needed some new dresses to cover her new braces. I needed something quick and easy, and thankfully I had just won Imagine Gnats Tumble Tee pattern. I'll be writing up a review about it soon, right now I'm just going to focus on my refashions...

I had an experiment languishing in my upcycle pile. It answered my questions but left me with something unwearable. Thankfully it was pink so it passed Pink Princess's inspection.

I used the back and front pattern pieces on the fold and flared them out from the waist down. I think it turned out really fun with the swirl already built into the fabric.
Resting from our photoshoot. Don't be too envious
of those hot pink socks. :)

The second refashion was actually completed earlier this summer. I had a cotton slip that was too small up top so I finally got around to chopping it off, adding elastic, and boom it was done!

I can now wear my Tiramisu and my Hummingsue with out flashing the world with my happy undies. I don't know why slips get such a bad rap. It allows you to wear multiple pieces with less construction work since you don't have to line EVERYTHING!

Do you wear slips? Do you think slips are weird??? Did you get any UFOS or refashions done this month? I had all sorts of big plans and you can see how well they worked out...
Keep sewing guys!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Musings of a Seamstress Bridesmaid

Big or tall, short or small everyone has a body. (super profound, I know)

What I mean with my clever little phrase is everyone, no matter what they look like or are shaped like, has something they dislike about their body. So often we brood on it, turning all our attention on that "defect" until it grows and overshadows our self.
It's like having a car that runs well and cussing it out because it's painted green and we wish it was red. Everyday we go out, kick the tires, let ourselves get angry, and drive off on our day without ever even getting an estimate on what a new paint job would cost.
What if something is seriously wrong, we need a new engine, or something... so we take it to the garage and fix it. Isn't that why we admire women like Joni Eareckson Tada and Bethany Hamilton? Despite visible physical problems they are both vibrant women that draw people to themselves?
Aren't these fun props!
High profile events like a wedding can bring out insecurities in even the most confident of ladies, especially when you're handing over the decisions of dress to another by being a bridesmaid. As this wedding's seamstress, I hope to tailor the bride's vision to our individual bodies so we will all look the best we possibly can. But I, the seamstress, can only do so much. I can't get into your head and change what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror. I can't change the attitude of your heart; and in the end, that's what will show when we walk down the aisle, eclipsing whatever shape we may have.

Respecting oneself, being confident, loving oneself are all good things but sometimes a glance inside shows emptiness. There is nothing to respect, love or be confident in. What do I do then?

I do the best I possibly can, and when I walk away from that mirror I forget all about me. I turn my focus on those around me, which in this case is some of my bestest friends getting married. This event, of all events, is not about me. No matter I'll be on stage, the focus won't be on me it will be on the bride and groom. I'll do my best to SEE the people around me and enjoy the journey I am on. When I do this my nerves calm and I'm ME, as me as I can be. And ya know, she's not too bad of a person. ;)

On this Monday evening, this is my hope and my prayer for all of us bridesmaids and for anyone out there who is also struggling with appearance and self worth...


Friday, August 23, 2013

My Voice Meme

So hear you have it! The completely unvarnished me! In case you couldn't tell I didn't do my hair or makeup for this video! I was also pretty cold which is why I was wearing my bathrobe?housecoat? (Ooh maybe we should add that to the question list) and why my voice was a bit shaky. I've really been enjoying these. Some people's voices really surprise me and others make sense. Mostly I'm surprised though... Ok I've warned you enough, here ya go!

So what do you think of my voice, Lelia? Is it what you expected?
Hey Guys, do you think I have an accent?

PS. You have no idea how excited I am to have figured out all the techno stuff to make a video and get it onto the blog. I am the queen of making things too big and having to redo them.

PPS. You have no idea, (unless you've already done one of these) how odd it is to hear your own voice and see yourself. I kept thinking, "Do I REALLY sound LIKE THAT?!?!!"

PPPS. Lelia has put up a list of all of us doing this! See it HERE!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Silky Love Story

Tonight I am going to tell you a lovely love story. One of my best friends is getting married in September. If I could ever use the term "kindred spirit" it would be with her. I've been privileged to be her listening ear as she's traveled that crazy path that leads to true love.
Now I know what you're thinking, "True Love, isn't that kind of cheesy. How do YOU know it's true love when all you've had are phone calls from a million miles away. Isn't that a little over the top."
Scoff not my friends, (and hang in there, I promise sewing will come in later) I know and here is one of the reasons why.
My friend is a really beautiful, classy lady but she couldn't see it. For as long as I've known her she has struggled with her appearance. While she didn't obsess or let it affect her daily life you could see the insecurity behind her eyes. Until HE came along.
Then all I heard were the praises of him; how valued he made her feel, and the thoughtful things he had done. There was nary a glimmer of her insecurities. When she called me and practically sang, "He loves me. I WANT TO MARRY HIM!" I could feel the glow traveling through the phone.

Engagement soon followed and a wedding date was finally chosen. I finally had to get off my duff and make her super special wedding/bachelorette gift. Finally we get to the sewing, whew!

A pretty silky nightgown for nights when she doesn't
 want to scream "I'm sexy." I checked with some of my
married friends and they said this was a good idea.
I snagged this lovely print at a thrift shop at the beginning of the year because I knew this day would be coming long before she did. She is darker complected than I am and I think this lavender will look lovely on her.
I wanted something super simple and this free Japanese tank dress pattern I found from this lovely blog, fit the bill. While her measurements put her at the second largest size I cut the largest size of the pattern on the bias so there would be plenty of room and be comfy to sleep in. It also gave me a bit extra to do french seams and not have to add seam allowance.

Another change I made to the pattern was to remove the bust darts, cheater style. What's cheater style you ask? It means you ignore the little ledge, v thing the dart makes and continue cutting straight down the side tapering back in to the side seam. I'm not guaranteeing this will work successfully on all patterns but I do think it worked here.
I also drew the pattern outline onto the slippery fabric, partly because the fabric was slippery and partly because I only had half the pattern so I had to flip it over to draw the other half for the bias layout. This whole slip was an exercise in bending the rules. ;)
Closeup of the details.  Not the absolute best job
but pretty good for my first time working with
slippery fabrics. 
After french seaming the shoulders and sideseams I used bias strips to bind the neckline and armholes. I let it hang for a few days then leveled it off and hemmed it. Despite, or because of all the changes, I think I have a lovely little nighty that will hopefully help my friend feel as beautiful as she truly is.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sleeves to Shorts Refashion

Well I did manage to get some stash refashioning done this week, with kids to boot. If you can't tell I'm pretty proud of myself! I've been loving the bubble shorts for awhile now and while taking this old dress apart I thought the sleeves looked like cute pre-made bubbles if I could figure out how to shape them for a bum.
So, Giggles, aka. Not-Niece 2, and I started out with a dress in pieces and ended with cute shorts.

Stealing one of Cation's words, here's my FAKEtorial on how I did this!
1. I used Made By Rae's Parsley Pants Pattern to trace the front and back crotch line on one sleeve.
2. I inserted one sleeve inside the other and sewed along the line. I trimmed afterward.
3. Realized the top was WAY TOO SKINNY and hacked of a chunk.
4. At this point I had two legs and no bum coverage so I tried them on the kid and measured 4 inches would give her wedgyless shorts.
5. Cut and 8 inch wide strip of fabric that was the same length as the shorts and sewed it into a tube!
6. Folded tube in half and sewed to shorts. Topstitched.
7. Measured elastic, sewed a casing, and inserted through hole in the side seam. Sewed elastic and boom! Shorts!

Basically you're just doing the same steps you would use for any elastic waist kid's pants. I think this would work even better if you were using larger sleeves because then you could cut the whole width of the waistband and wouldn't have to bother with adding a band to make them long enough.
Bum coverage and closeup of back seam.
We had fun and I'm excited that my idea actually worked! There was a moment of panic as I went to sew but I figured I wasn't losing much if it failed since it was old fabric anyway.

So there you have it! The smallest refashion I had planned. Let me know if you need more clarification on the steps or if you'd be interested in an actual step by step tutorial.
How are things going on your end? Have you gotten to sew anything up?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Buttons or Bows??

Hi Fellow Sewists!
  I've got a dilemma here and thought I'd pop in real quick and see if you guys could help me decide.

Ignore the subpar photography and let me know which you like better, the buttons or the bow?
I like how the buttons lighten up the top and will match the back button closure but I've been craving a bow blouse for a long time.... What do I do??

Monday, August 12, 2013

Refashioning Inspiration

Due to some unforeseen events my refashioning plans for this month got refashioned! Haha imagine that! While I'll be doing my best to get the smaller projects done my big refashions are probably going to have to wait a bit longer while I sew bridesmaid dresses for my bestest college friend. I think it's a good reason.

So what do I have to share with you today if not my UFO refashioning projects?? How about some inspiration!

We recently found The Mind of a Chef on Netflix and it became our light suppertime watching for a few nights. On one of the episodes, (I can't remember which one) the host said something along these lines.  With everything that's available to everyone today, anyone can cook a good steak. The measure of a true chef is one who can take the leftovers, the garbage and turn them into a tasty masterpiece.

I think that perfectly embodies what we are trying to do this month with our UFOS and refashions.

Stashbusting Sewalong. Refashioning Inspiration
Image Source
I also just finished this book. I chose it from the thrift store pile because it was an autobiography. FABULOUS!! This boy built something from nothing and was able to change his and his family's lives. I think parents and children should read this and realize the value of working hard, getting an education and following your dreams. He built a windmill in his backyard out of pieces he picked out of a junkyard using the knowledge he gleaned from library books. Even when everyone thought he was crazy he continued to work hard. 

I am so blessed and have so much! I'm so thankful for the good education I was given, the knowledge that is so accessible, that I can live and eat without fear of famine. Thanks to William's hard work his family doesn't have to fear famine anymore either. 

That's all I have for you today! I've got to get back to work!

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Sew Weekly Dilemma and High Fashion Depression

Before I even knew what a blog was, I found Sew Weekly. It was such an amazing site and I searched high and trying to find out how I could join. I wanted to be a part of that amazing group of talented ladies. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard about the Sew Weekly Reunion!
The Sew Weekly Reunion

I immediately signed up and eagerly anticipated the challenge announcement.
The Pantone Fall 2013 Color challenge... I had to have something in my stash. But every color was just a bit off when I held it up to the computer screen. I know computer monitors can distort colors so I took a look at more of the fall runway designs to see if that would help me with the colors. 
I found Marie Claire's "Top Looks from Europe Fall 2013 Fashion Week" 
"Great!" I thought, "The best all rounded up in one place for me. Wonderful." Then I started through the photos and got more and more confused...
No I do not want my bewbs to grow hairy tentacles and fly away.
I'm a grown woman. I would prefer to enjoy this brief time of of my life when I do not have to live in diapers.
Especially giant shiny velvety ones!
No matter how pretty my undies I do not want to flash them to the general public. Nor am I a one woman peep show.
 No wonder models are so sad and depressed looking when they're forced to dress up in ridiculous things like this.
"What are you walking the runway as today, Betty?"
"Oh, I'm a sea anemone, Frances. How about you?"
 "Me? Well I'm some kind of allegorical bird in a cage or something. When will they learn, YOU NEVER COME BETWEEN A WOMAN AND HER FOOD!"

This look probably makes me saddest of all. I don't know if these aren't the best colors for this model or if that sweater is just super drab but I know there's several sewing bloggers out there who could pull off this look with more panache than her. She's probably just ready to cry since she can't eat and doesn't have any bewbs.

So ends my venture into high fashion... I think I'll stick to my sewing blogs where clothes are actually clothes and make a woman look and feel her best.
Here's what I decided to make my fall ensemble out of. The colors are close. I wish they were closer but this is what I have and I don't have time or opportunity to buy different fabric. I don't really want to buy more fabric anyway.
Are you taking part in Sew Weekly's Reunion? Have you chosen your fabrics and pattern yet? I hope my expose on high fashion brought a few smiles to your day. Any explanation on it would be happily accepted. :)
 Have a great weekend everyone! I'm going to be "running" in my not-niece's 5K for SMA tomorrow morning. First time I've done any kind of event like that!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Crazy Costume Critiques: An Introduction

DISCLAIMER! This is not a rejection or an endorsement of the actual content of  the tv show or movie. These are purely my thoughts on some of the costumes. The only reason I'm calling it a critique is because I love alliteration. All photos are either screenshots I have taken or have links to where I sourced them online. No copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS!! I'm sharing photos and a bit about the story they come from. If you don't want to know; don't read.

Now that I've gotten that business out of the way, Welcome to my new feature here on Emsewcrazy:

Crazy Costume Critiques!!!

It wasn't until my college friends gave me blank stares and started laughing when I mentioned the movie The Ten Commandments was not only a good movie but "had beautiful fabrics" that I realized maybe it wasn't normal to pay so much attention to the textiles on the silver screen. Apparently google agrees with them since I can't find any photos of the scene I'm looking for. Remember when Moses returns at the beginning of the movie, marches into the great hall with all his plunder and unrolls huge bolts of fabric that ripple down Pharaoh's grand hall. You know what I'm talking about. Looking back, the whole movie is full of lush costuming. I was able to snatch one screen shot from a YouTube clip.
Nefertiti in one of her gorgeous gowns.
The moment that movies became a source of inspiration is forever impressed in my memory. It comes from the Princess Bride. There I was a happy young teenager engrossed in this hilarious fairy tale when this happened!
The only source I could find online! Why aren't there 2million
photos documenting this marvelous fall?
Less than 30 seconds of footage; lifelong impact. I was transported into gorgeous dress land; that silvery blue dress rippling and sparkling as it fell against the dark night sky. I think it is one of the best cinematic dress moments of all time! Argue with me if you dare!!

Then the other day as I was putting on a movie for my not-nieces and nephew I realized maybe the cinema has had an even earlier impact on my sewing journey.
The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
Look! Real Pattern piece shapes. 
How can you not love the adorable little mice working away? 
They have such detailed and lovely clothes.
Then and now I am captivated by the exquisite detail shown even in the closeups of the embroidery.
While we had only The Tailor of Gloucester on VHS they've now boxed all of these wonderfully filmed tales together into a DVD set. They are fabulously well done and I'm not being paid to say that. 

Since I now work with fabric and sewing patterns on a daily basis I find myself noticing even more details as I watch TV. Costume Critiques will be a semi regular feature of me sharing my crazy observations with you! So am I certifiable? Do you remember a specific moment when you were lifted out of a movie by a costume?

Monday, August 5, 2013

July Stashbusting Dress Roundup

Well I made it home from our "vacation" late this afternoon. I got several new books, sewing and reading and some great fabric. Some vintage I bought for my Etsy shop and a pile that was given to me by a friend. Free doesn't doesn't break my stashbusting pledge... especially when what I'm given will be perfect for kids christmas gifts. Anyways, back to July...
Cindy has the link party up. Go add all your wonderfulness so we can have fun voting on our favorites. Here's some Dressy fabulousness from our Flickr pool. I know I haven't been commenting lately but I do check in from time to time and love all that's being added there!

Simplicity 3035
Stitch Parade's Sunshine Coast Dress
Green merino knit dress
Kbenco's Winter Dress I want to copy this for myself.
Cambie Dress
Finished in May but Posted in July It's still stash
so we're counting it! :)
Ottobre 03/2012 #34 as a nightgown
Simply Adorable!
Lady Skater - Maxi-mized!
This woman is a sewing machine! She made bunches of dresses this month but this one
is my favorite.
Simplicity 2443 Tree Dress Front
And we can't end this month without Heather B.
She's doing a Summer of Dresses on her blog which I
highly recommend for laughs and pattern inspiration. 
Also, if you're interested in getting even more social with your sewing check out the latest "challenge" going on right now. I hope this lasts for awhile so I get to participate... too much going on right now.

Well that sums it up for July! Happy sewing to you all in August!

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Stashbusting: UFO'S and Refashioning Style

Welp, here we are Stashbusters, at the beginning of another month. I always get excited at the prospect of a new challenge and August is no exception. As I've been following your blogs and reading your goals for the year I noticed several of you are refashioners and many of us were bemoaning our boxes of unfinished projects lying around.

When I was cleaning out a friend's basement I had to throw away two big boxes full of cut dresses, shirts and who knows what else. Now before you rain down heaps of reproaches on me let me tell you these boxes were full of mouse poo and the detris that sifts into boxes that have been sitting in the basement for the last 40 years. The pins were rusted into most pieces, leaving stains. At least all the pieces I could stand to go through before I collapsed into a sneezing heap.

So... August is time to tackle our Unfinished Projects and if you don't have any of those tackle your Refashioning Pile and if you don't have any of those have fun sewing whatever you please this month. Which you can do anyways. Completing something already partially done is a great way to ease back into sewing after all the craziness of our summer here on this side of the planet.

I'm working on building up a refashioning pinboard.

Here's some great refashioning inspiration around the web as well.

The Refashioners 2013

SoZoe's Refashioning Resources

I know I'm missing some... but "vacation" is calling me. What are your favorite refashioning resources?